The poor potato has had a bad wrap in recent years with a lot of people wrongly equating it to spreading waist lines and other health related hyperbole. It doesn’t help that growers and supermarkets have eschewed traditional tasty breeds (along with their shorter harvesting season) in favour of an easier to harvest alternative their flavour has dramatically diminished (in my opinion anyway) leaving a lot of us reaching for cooking methods that more than make up for any lack of taste but do nothing for their unhealthy reputation. And to be fair, who doesn’t love a creamy, buttery mash? But luckily summer is upon us now bringing gorgeous new potatoes with it and no need for all that butter to make them shine.
This is a manic time of year, right? Exams to get them through, then school sports days, holidays to plan and on top of all that the garden explodes. Literally explodes. I swear, I went out of the house one morning and my garden was all neat and tidy and I came back to a jungle. I have noticed that I usually develop a more tolerant approach to weeds about this time of year and advise you do too; changing my definition from a plant growing in the incorrect place to anything goes as long as it’s not a stinging nettle. Evil things that they are.
The other week I went on a ‘relaxing’ walking weekend with my sister and mum. Short walks were planned. Well, maybe planned is a bit of an exaggeration. Arguably, had it been a bit more planned we may have finished the short walks we set out on, instead of the marathon length ones we ended up completing. We saw a lot of the countryside; let’s leave it at that. After one such epic journey I sat down to a meal that will stay with me for a long time; a tamarind fish curry. At the time, tired and exceptionally hungry it tasted unbelievably good. I couldn’t wait to get home and try to replicate it. (Obviously after a long soak in a hot bath first.) Mostly to ascertain whether it was the hunger talking or whether it really was as delicious as I remembered. After a bit of research, I played around a bit then served up my version, braced for crushing disappointment. It never came. The resulting curry was just as deliciously fresh tasting as the first. Which was just as well. I really don’t have the time to be roaming the hills for hours working up my already rather healthy appetite.
Every so often a few culinary planets align and something magical happens on even the most mundane and boring days. One such moment happened last week. I had a perfectly ripe avocado. Only one. And a perfectly ripe mango. Now I can always find a home for a perfectly ripe mango but only one avocado is slightly harder. In a family our size we need at least two so we can get stuck into some guacamole but waiting for another one to catch up never seems to work for me. Even with the help of the revered brown paper bag and over ripe banana. Of course there was always the option of devouring it mashed on wholemeal toast with some roasted tomatoes (one of my favourites) before anyone got home but I was feeling magnanimous. And summery. A winning combination. The avocado and mango ice cream idea was born.